dealing with betrayal from friends & its lessons

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    I would appreciate some advice on how to deal with betrayal from loved ones, mainly friends and family. In the last 3-4 years of some great uncertainty in my life, I would even call it a transition period, I’ve started noticing a pattern that seems to repeat itself, albeit with different characters each time. I meet a person, who seems nice, warm, friendly, considerate. We seem to share some interests and enjoy spending time together, to our mutual benefit. As a great listener, people find it easy to open up to me with their plans, joys or sorrows. I do the same, of course – share. If they need help, I usually respond. Sometimes even perhaps too eagerly, on account of my low self-esteem. I seem to have a knack for understanding what needs to get done and volunteering to do it, as part of our friendship. My inner voice seems to say that if I prove my worth as a human being to them, as a friend, they will respond perhaps in kind, when I need a friend as well.

    Everything seems fine for about a year – we enjoy an equal and pleasant friendship – and then all of a sudden, without any notice, things change. I am not reactive in nature, I notice, but I usually give excuses or attribute strange reactions to people being busy, stressed, etc. I also try to look on the positive side of things and I’m a firm believer in allowing time to fix the small cracks, until things become unbearably unbalanced and I can’t take it anymore. As an example, I had a friend (slightly younger than me) that I mentored constantly – job advice, relationship advice, when she needed real help with something, we will set up a time and I will be there for her. However, when the time came when I needed the same – to be heard, cheered up and helped, she bailed out on me. She had moved on with her life, was in another place, and her new life did not have time or space for me. Yet, whenever she was in trouble, I was the person she called. After a while of this and several chats to no avail, I discontinued the friendship. I was tired/ bitter, and feeling unappreciated and uncared for in return. There were too many times when I needed help with a single task, we would set up dates for it to be completed, and then the very last minute, my fried would bail out on some excuse. This happened about 6-7 times, over the course of 2 months.

    What hurt the most, was that after we parted, she did not respect my privacy. When mutual friends asked about her, I would say she was doing well, but we haven’t heard from each other in awhile. She, on the other hand, concocted some crazy story I was jealous of her boyfriend and new job, in addition to spilling all sorts of private details about me from our private conversations to whoever was within listening distance. I had various people approach me and ask about this or that private detail of my life, which was profoundly disturbing to me.

    Later on that year, I met another friend – a journalist. On account of my language skills and special interests, he frequently used me as an unofficial helper and source. I helped him with a lot of his articles, provided background, did translations, co-wrote – you get the picture. All of that for free, as journalists are not well paid in his business. He was also aware that I was in the process of looking for a job, I had only recently moved back from another continent, and on my end, I requested some unofficial writing advice, networking, and introductions to various newspapers or worthwhile places, where I could apply for jobs. He never responded to this, and I am not exactly sure why. If I wrote a piece, he would publish it, but I always felt he was doing it as a personal favor to me. Once published, the article would get many hits and comments, so it wasn’t on account of writing style or content. Yet, he never introduced me officially to his newspaper editors, I never got paid, or even re-directed to other possible venues for publishing. It was a one-woman’s crusade, if I wrote something, he will publish it, and in return, apart from the credit to my name, I would get nothing – no money, no official position, no introductions. Not only this, but as time passed, he started passing the articles we co-wrote as his own expertise and accomplishment, even if we were sitting together in a circle of friends. People reading the article would assume that he was the main author (as he’s a well-known journalist) and I am some sort of second author-intern, working for the newspaper. Yet, I never even met the editors, was hired in an official capacity or got a paycheck. When I finally grew tired of it and demanded an explanation, I was told a bunch of half-truths and the guy started avoiding me. No problem, I thought, it’s all happened before and I can deal with it again.

    And yet, I am a bit concerned about this pattern. I know there must be something in my way of handling people and allowing such experiences in my life. I do stand up for myself, I am not passive, but I have always believed in reciprocal relationships and that a good friend returns favors and cares for his/ her friends. What are the lessons I am supposed to learn from these two experiences? Ok, I understand that everyone meets worthy and not so worthy individuals, but is there another way than investing yourself in such friendships for a year and then having them turn to dust? There is also the cumulative effect – how do I get over the sense of upcoming betrayal from the next friend, which I do realize is my hurt SELF speaking? I have tried talking, working things out, but that’s another thing – in such moments my so-called friends start avoiding these conversations or getting acutely defensive, where we can’t even have a my-side-of-the-story and your-side-of-the- story moments? I am tired of walking away, not paying attention to provocations, and then having to start rebuilding my trust zone and friendly circle from scratch.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


    These people sound just like a friend that I had. It was what I could do for her. And yes, also taking credit when she wasn’t the one doing them. She cut me off some time ago because she kept asking for favors such as lending money (I’m not talking about $5, she asked for hundreds at a time) & I just didn’t want to be the “go to” friend anymore, so I just kept saying “Sorry I can’t” We used to be really close but the last few months of our friendship was just her asking me for things. She probably thinks I’m selfish because I was no longer at her beckoning call, but she was being selfish, just keeping me around to see what she could get. I am a very generous person & I will help when I can, but not when I feel that I am being used. I think you & I are alike in that we love helping others. It’s in our nature, but then, unfortunately, we get some “friends” like these. Be careful who you choose to keep as a friend. Stay kind. Don’t let a few bad people make you bitter. But also, be careful who you lend a hand to. If you feel like you are being used, trust your own instincts. My heart ached reading this, as I can relate. I wish you the best of luck in any future relationships. 🙂


    Hey you guys!
    Yes its a lot to do with setting your boundaries and learning to say No to people. Sometimes we need to set an example of how we want to be treated. And more often that not that example is set by learning to treat ourselves the right way. When we lead by example, everyone else will follow 🙂
    Also you cant please everyone. Learn to respect your boundaries. End of the day, you have to look after yourself. Doing things for other people expecting them to like you or because you want something in return is a bankrupt game (Read more: http://lovingboldly.com/blog/people-pleasers/). I’m glad that you decided to look within yourself to identify this issue. Means you are on the right path. A lot of people would not take that risk. I guess its too much to look within yourself and say “okay I know what I’m doing wrong”. Good thing about owning your actions is that you get to modify behaviors, thoughts and limiting patterns so that you get better results in the future.


    I know this post is not knew but I wanted to respond, first with a question: Did this person/journalist you help KNOW you were hoping to get get an intruduction to the editors for credit / paycheck / future work.
    I have a friend I had similar exhanges with but I did not expect anything further. No shared credits, etc. I was content to help this person accomplish their task. HOWEVER, if this person KNEW that you were hoping for these things then I too would feel especially betrayed.
    The pattern in your life is very similar to the HSP (Highly Sensitive Person / Empath ) People of a caring and empathetic nature can be spotted a mile away and often attract opportunists, manipulators and narciessists. In the Buddhist tradition we try to understand these people with a sense of compassion and a sense of cause and effect. But since we are human I feel we cannot honor the process/lesson if we try to skip the emotional journey and leap right into forgiveness and compassion. Quite frankly I think those are the people who ultimately end up snapping or heavily medicated. — we Must honor the emotional journey and allow our feelings.
    But you must also understand that being empathetic is going to bring these types of people into your life. They are (in the kindest term I can come up with) *users*. They may not come with malicious intent. They may tell themselves (and you) how nice you are….doing this for them.
    But if you want mutual respect then you need to find a way to assert healthy boundaries. Because you deserve it. — But it’s up to you to set up those red velvet ropes and make it clear that anyone who wants to be an *insider* will be expected to bring a six pack of respect, mutual exchange and empathy.
    Doesn’t mean you have to dump these folks from your life. If you assert yourself early/with diplomacy and respect then they will get the message and judging by whether they stick around and tolerate your healthy boundaries, you will know whether they belong in your life.
    It has worked for me. And believe me..the relationships get stronger and you get much happier. I wish you luck.


    While I wouldnt say all people are like The ones You mentioned , A Vast number of people From this new Generation are loosing all sense of accountability and friendship to someone . Its not Your problem . You are a really good person , Its just that Sometimes life and some people are just &^/$ ing shit . I Have Had Similar experiences As You . My own work had been snatched and used by one of my friends . A Client that I had got was Stolen by another ….. These kind of things happen To everyone in life . But some people no matter how much they taste their own medicine , they nEver learn .

    What I am saying is Never give up Hope . You will find people and friends who will stick till the very end And who doesnt come only when their is a fair Weather . But at the same time , dont tolerate people who Misuse You . You might be a good person and be sad about breaking up with people BUT The fact is YOU DESERVE BETTER . Leave The people who don ‘t care .

    I Hope You Live Happily .


    I’m dealing with the same issue. I think it has something to do with how you present yourself to people, there is something your doing that tells that they can treat you that way. notice how you interact and their gestures, the words they used, listen to your body react to them.

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